A Great Slave Southern Empire In The Tropics
Edward Alfred Pollard

Shall the institution, which has built up the commerce and industry of such large portions of the civilized world, that has so identified itself with the progress of the age, that secures the bulwarks of social conservatism, that inspires with independence, refines the soul, and nourishes a graceful pride; shall an institution at once so powerful and so polishing be condemned to extinction, or shall it continue to flourish and gather strength and beneficence in the coming time?

One step toward the accomplishment of this destiny, one advance toward the rearing of that great southern empire whose seat is eventually to be in Central America, and whose boundaries are to inclose the Gulf of Mexico, was the memorable expedition of William Walker to Nicaragua, invited there by one of its revolutionary chiefs.

The objects of that expedition, my dear C., were for a long time extensively misunderstood. They are now being apprehended by the northern people; they were long ago appreciated by the people of the South. It was to found, in a glorious land of promise, the institutions of the South, to extend them to other inviting countries of Spanish America, and, on the doubly-secured foundation of these institutions, and of military ideas of government, to build up the great tropical empire of America.

This great idea, I have reason to believe, was conceived in its fullness by WIlliam Walker. Regardless of the clamors of the world, he pursued, in reserve, though with a burning spirit, the single object to which he devoted fortune, life, and honor. And while that world was regarding his expedition as a short-sighted and rapacious conquest, a mere raid, a vulgar seizure of a nation's territory, he, in secret, had undertaken one of the grandest schemes ever set afoot in the western world.

Crushed may be all the aspirations of one individual. But the idea of empire conceived by an unfortunate leader can never die from the hearts of the South. Ever perpetuated and ever living, it will seek its accomplishment on and on, perseveringly and at the last irresistibly. This, dear C., is a serious truth; and the American people of all sections, of all countries, and of both continents, might as well accept the manifest destiny of a great, slave southern empire in the tropics of the western hemisphere.


Excerpt from Black Diamonds by Edward Alfred Pollard
Read in the United States House of Representatives by John F. Farnsworth of Illinois, December 23, 1859
The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session, New Series...No. 15, Monday, December 26, 1859, page 228